For the past 21 years, Optima has developed operations research-based systems that provide solutions to the complex integrity management problems associated with the infrastructure of pipelines, roads, and bridges. Our systems are used in every state in America, throughout Europe and Australia, and in several Asian countries. These systems have been adopted as standard by agencies such as The Federal Highway Administration and The American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO). Before the creation of PRISM and PONTIS, the transportation industry was dominated by archaic, inefficient integrity analysis and risk management systems similar to the ineffective systems currently being utilized in the gas industry. Optima has improved the status quo for the transportation industry with the propagation of PRISM and PONTIS; with the introduction of TUBIS, Optima is currently helping the gas industry evolve to a similar level of quality.
Optima's systems have several commonalties. All of Optima's systems:
- Take into account the fact that infrastructure networks have thousands of non-uniform elements, each with its own characteristics, repair history, conditions, environments, and deterioration patterns
- Take into consideration that for every element and condition there are a multitude of feasible actions with varying costs, probabilistic effectiveness, and future consequences
- Factor each element (e.g., a pipe segment) can be in different conditions and environments, and often the conditions cannot be inspected at will
- Consider that sometimes actions taken regarding a component of an element may effect the conditions of other elements
- Allow for planning and resource constraints and work within a predefined budget
- Meet government regulations
- Recommend defensible mathematical and scientifically explainable actions
- Take into account multiple objectives and time periods with actions in one period affecting the conditions and feasible actions taken in future period.
Optima's systems consider the best action to be taken now, while achieving certain desirable performance levels in the long run. In addition, they provide answers to predictive "what if" questions. Optima's systems help clients organize and manage all relevant information about their network. The systems not only incorporate experience and data from industry experts, but also have sophisticated mechanisms to learn from actual data over time.
Optima's systems answer problems with such complexity that only the discipline of operations research can solve optimally . Our models are vastly quoted from and form an integral part of infrastructure management syllabi in universities. Optima's systems have fundamentally changed the way that federal and state departments manage all aspects of road and bridge management. We expect to do the same for gas distribution networks through TUBIS integrated systems.